The Best Protein Bars for Your Fitness Goals

It is not always convenient to stop what you are doing and mix up a protein shake. Does that mean you should let your protein goals slide when you have a busy day or something unusual interrupts your routine? Absolutely not! This just means you need to identify the best protein bars for your health and fitness goals so that you can keep them on hand at all times.

Put them in your glove box, keep them in your laptop case or purse, just make sure they are always convenient.

This can stop you from hitting the drive-thru line or the vending machines when you don’t have access to a healthy meal or snack. It can make your healthy lifestyle easier to maintain consistently over time, and you know that consistency is what brings results.

Selecting the Best Protein Bars

The only way to select the best protein snack or meal replacement bars is to read the label carefully. You cannot go off recommendations from friends or family members because they may not share your fitness goals. In fact, you could sabotage progress toward your goals if you blindly add a protein bar into your diet without reading the label.

For example, let’s say that your primary fitness goal is to lose 50 pounds. You may assume that using a protein bar to replace unhealthy snacks will help you reach that goal. While some low-calorie protein bars might work as a snack replacement, a high-calorie protein bar might be just as bad as the unhealthy snack you replace, or even worse.

This is why it is critical that you read labels for nutrition information before deciding which protein bars are ideal for the lifestyle you want to adopt. You should look for all of the following either on the label or online as you research each bar you consider:

  • Serving size
  • Calories per serving
  • Fat grams per serving
  • Carbohydrate grams per serving
  • Protein grams per serving

The first step when selecting a protein bar is to make sure all of these nutritional elements fit within your dietary restrictions and will not sabotage other efforts you make to reach your goals.

You may allow higher calorie, fat and carbohydrate content when using a bar to replace a meal than when using a bar as a snack or as a healthy way to hold off hunger when you cannot get to a healthy meal.

Think about how you will use the bar, and consider purchasing different bars for different purposes if necessary.

Carb to Protein Ratio

If your goal is to pack a lot of protein into your diet, you will naturally look for protein bars that contain higher grams of protein per serving. The problem is that many bars contain far more carbohydrates than protein.

Whether you want to increase your protein intake while consuming a high-calorie diet for muscle gain or you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy bodyweight, the best protein bars will always contain more protein than carbohydrates in each serving.

If you just were searching for something that tastes good and that may hold off your hunger between meals, you could go to any convenience store and pick up a candy bar.

Since you are looking for a healthy supplement that will help you reach health and fitness goals that you find important, you need a bar that is far healthier than a candy bar.

You will pay more for protein bars, so they better offer more nutritional value.

Note: There are Exceptions to the Rule

It makes sense that the best protein bars include more protein than carbohydrates, but in some cases a bar with more carbohydrates and a reasonable amount of protein is preferable. For instance, this applies to serious bodybuilders or weight gainers who want to consume a lot of calories each day in order to bulk up. In this case, you may go for a bar that contains twice as much carbohydrate as protein as long as the protein content helps you reach your protein intake goals as well.

If you want to use your protein bar as a meal replacement, then you may look for bars that contain more high-quality carbohydrates than protein. In this case, the protein will give you energy over the long term while still satisfying your need for increased protein consumption.

Top Recommendations – Meal Replacement Protein Bars

Even if your goals involve weight loss, you should look for protein bars with 300-400 calories if you want to use the bars to replace full meals. Also look for bars that contain at least 30 grams of protein and carbohydrates. A meal should supply enough protein, healthy fat and carbohydrates to sustain your energy until the next meal.

Some of the best protein bars suitable for this use are the following:

MET-Rx Protein Plus Protein Bars

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Each bar contains 32 grams of protein and 33 grams of carbohydrate, so the carbohydrate to protein ratio is very close. This is more protein than you will find in many other protein meal replacement bars, so it is worth the carbohydrate content if you are not strictly limiting your carb consumption. Each bar contains 320 calories, which is reasonable for a meal even if your goals include weight loss.

The potential problems for this bar are the fat and sugar alcohol content. There are 26 grams of sugar alcohol and 8 grams of saturated fat in each bar. Since the overall fat content is 10 grams per bar, almost all of it is saturated fat.

Pure Protein Meal Replacement Bars

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This is the perfect protein bar if you want to consume as much protein as possible without increasing calorie consumption for each meal. While each bar offers an amazing 32 grams of protein, you only take in 280 calories and 7 grams of fat per bar. Each bar also contains 26 grams of carbohydrates, which means it contains quite a bit more protein than carbohydrates. Each bar contains 7 grams of sugar alcohol, but that is less than you will find in many meal replacement protein bars.

Top Recommendations – Snack Protein Bars

If you will use your protein bars as snacks between meals, after-workout energy replacements or occasional energy boosts, you need a bar that contains fewer calories, fats and carbohydrates than the bars used for meal replacement. Bars that contain fewer than 250 calories are ideal.

Some fo the best protein bars suitable for this use are the following:

Power Crunch Energy Bars

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These power bars contain no sugar alcohols, so if you have a sensitive stomach this is probably one of the best protein bars for your snacking needs. Each bar contains 14 grams of protein and 10 grams of carbohydrates, so it passes the carbohydrate to protein ratio test easily. With 205 calories, you see why this is a popular bar for consumers interested in slimming down.

It is important to note that each bar does contain 12 grams of fat, including 5 grams of saturated fats. If you count fat grams in addition to calories, this is something to consider.

Pure Protein Chewy Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

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Each bar contains 200 calories and 5 grams of fat, so it is reasonable if you are trying to conserve calories to lose weight. With 18 grams of carbohydrates and 20 grams of protein in each bar, it passes the carbohydrate/protein ratio test as well. The first ingredient listed on the label is the protein blend, and that is a sign that the bar is packed with nutritious protein rather than low-quality carbohydrates.

One thing to note is that the carbohydrate count includes 5 grams of sugar alcohols. Some people experience stomach upset when they consume sugar alcohols, so you may want to pick a different bar if you are sensitive to that ingredient.

Quest Nutrition Lemon Cream Pie Protein Bars

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Technically, this protein bar does fail the carbohydrate to protein ratio test, but you have to consider the amount of dietary fiber included in the carbohydrate count. Each bar contains 20 grams of protein and 25 grams of carbohydrates, but 17 grams of the carbohydrates come from fiber. Only 1 gram of carbohydrate content comes from sugar. There are 6 grams of sugar alcohol in each bar, so this might not be an ideal selection if your stomach is sensitive to sugar alcohol.

Each bar contains 170 calories, and only 50 of those calories come from fat. No saturated or trans fats are included, so this is an excellent choice if you are trying to restrict those unhealthy fats for greater weight loss results.

Want a Versatile Bar for All Uses?

If you will sometimes use your protein bar as a meal replacement and may also use it as a snack from time to time, go with the Pure Protein Chocolate Deluxe Protein Bar listed as a recommendation for a meal replacement bar. The calorie count is low enough that you can use it as a snack in many cases, and it offers a lot of protein without packing in the fat or carbohydrates.

You can also combine a bar like this with nuts, yogurt or other healthy foods if you want a higher-calorie meal that still delivers a lot of protein

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